A new study, in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control , reveals that hospitals with a board certified director in infection prevention and control have substantially lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI), compared to hospitals that are not led by a certified professional. MRSA is a form of staph bacteria, which is resilient to certain antibiotics and can cause serious infections.
Columbia University School of Nursing researchers conducted an infection prevention and control department survey in 203 Californian acute care hospitals to determine a possible link between their program's structure and practices and the frequency of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study is one of the first to discover a relationship between patient care practices, specific infrastructure elements and rates of healthcare-associated infections.
The researchers analyzed 91 hospital's MRSA bloodstream infection data to establish whether any factors were linked to MRSA infection frequency. They found that those hospitals that had a board certified director who participated in a multi-facility performance improvement project had substantially lower MRSA BSI rates.
Of all hospitals, 97% reported they had some kind of screening policy in place to test for multidrug-resistant organisms, i.e. mainly for MRSA, upon patient admission. The most typically targeted populations were transfers from nursing homes (77.8%), ICU patients (72.8%), and dialysis patients (63.3%), as well as readmissions within 30 days (75.6%). Only few hospitals reported to screen for two other multidrug-resistant organisms, i.e. vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).
Even though by Californian law hospitals are required to screen for MRSA, the researchers argue that screening for other pathogens, such as VRE and C. difficile , may be limited if the law only specifies screening for one type of pathogen.
Michelle Farber, RN, CIC, APIC 2012 President declares:
"The association between a board certified professional and fewer MRSA infections likely reflects greater awareness and level of implementation of evidence-based prevention practices. This study also adds to an increasing amount of evidence that broad collaborative projects are an effective mechanism to improve performance and patient safety. In addition, the new study is timely as APIC has developed a new competency model for infection preventionists that emphasizes the value of certification. This new data reinforces the value of this credential for enhancing patient safety."
The Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC®) credential is awarded by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC), to acknowledge healthcare professionals who demonstrated to have supreme knowledge in infection prevention. The American Journal of Infection Control is the official publication of APIC - the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
Written by Petra Rattue